Ed Balls has launched a blistering attack on the coalition’s failure to improve living standards on the day before the latest growth figures are set to be revealed, which are predicted to show positive growth in the second quarter of 2013.
In a blog on the Huffington Post UK, the shadow chancellor writes: “In Britain figures tomorrow will show the UK economy is finally growing again – something that is both welcome and long-overdue – but most families are not seeing any recovery in their living standards.
“Wages after inflation are falling month by month – down by over £1300 a year since David Cameron’s government came to power.“
“We need a strong recovery that everybody can benefit from – a recovery made by the many, not just a few at the top. That means government action now alongside long-term reforms. It’s a challenge for all developed economies around the world, but it’s one we must rise to.”
Balls wrote his blog for HuffPost UK while in America, where he is launching the first meeting of his Inclusive Prosperity Commission with ex-US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. The Commission is set to examine how to ensure growth is shared and distributed between all income groups.
The shadow chancellor will also be holding meetings with White House officials including US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in order to learn the lessons of the American economic recovery, which saw President Obama take direct steps to stimulate the economy.
“There are clearly lessons that Britain can learn from America, where President Obama has used fiscal policy to secure rather than strangle economic recovery. Since the autumn of 2010, the US has grown a staggering four times faster than the UK.
“The US economy has more than recovered all the output lost after the global financial crisis, but three years of stagnation in Britain means our economy remains over 3 per cent below its pre-crisis peak.”
“But we also face a shared challenge of ensuring that economic growth is both strengthened and fairly shared,” he writes.
The shadow chancellor's critics will argue that his focus on living standards is an attempt to divert attention away from the much-anticipated positive GDP figures.